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August 23, 2006

The music business is not for everyone.

It has been a minute since my last blog but I am back with a few topics that I felt relevant enough to share at this level. The title really says it all for me. I have tell you I always meet people and even have family members that think just because I am in the music business so should they be and why aren't I giving out the free handout. This is a business and despite all the glamour and glitz there are people really breaking their necks on an individual and team basis.I have 16 to 18 hour days and try to juggle my business,a wife,a family and people think it is easy. The best is when my friends from the hood decide this is their new meal ticket and don't understand why they aren't rolling in the dough and take offense when they aren't being catered to as if they were a client and not someone trying to get on. I am very grateful to be in this business as something interesting is always going on and we are at a crossroads where the expansion of our business whether thru the digital realm or the brand marketing angle are creating new opportunities and income streams. That being said everyone should chase their dreams but remember it is up to you to make your dreams come true. The next man or woman shouldn't have their career used as your personal spring board. You have to find your lane and make it work!!!! Next blog: New york hip hop and the new york state of mind. stay tuned

Posted by chrislighty at August 23, 2006 10:03 AM

Comments

hey! i thought you had fallen off the face of the earth! welcome back, kotter. just wanted to check in on you...good to see the new picture and that you are still taking a minute out of your busy day to holla at us!
this is probably the blog that i agree with you the most on so far because if i put in work, i'll be damned if the next lazy ass (friend, family or foe) will suck my energy and resources, etc. that being said, networking with others who ARE striving and trying to get in where they fit in is the thing to do (i.e. BUILDING). i understand that if one is not handed something on a silver platter, they are not trying to give a handout to the next person looking for that easy come up...if we bust our ass getting ahead, what sense does it make to make it easy for someone else...cuz sh!t, they need to identify with the struggle, pay dues. I know that if I was to be considered a "resource" like someone such as yourself, "people" would approach me in a totally different way than they do now or have in the past...and i would tell them that they have caught the "vapors" basically if they had done nothing remotely supportive when i was living in my "dreamworld". as much as i detest the American way of individualism, i wish we were more socially conscious and responsible on the whole, but i am living in this world so i must conduct myself accordingly until i can change the game:) i guess lil kim n'em said it best when they said first you get the money, then the power, and then the respect. bass ackwards to me, but hey! so for now to each his/her own and handle yo' biz, maint! gotta get mine, you gotta get yours. looking forward.

Posted by: Jacqueline at August 24, 2006 12:19 AM

Hey,

I'm a french journalist based in Paris and I've been involved in hip-hop since 17 years now. I'm glad that someone finally speaks the truth !

But don't you think that the ignorance of some peoples is due to the facts that "hip-hop executives" (Puffy, Dame Dash and Irv Gotti are the perfect examples) are giving falses informations ? When u read interviews of those guys (who are constantly on the spotlight) they never talk about the grind, the hard hustle to achieve to the top.

The other thing that bother me a little is that white "hip-hop executives" (Lyor Cohen, Steve Rifkind, the guy from Asylum,...)are less flashy. I never saw Steve Rifkind in a video !! But's that's the guy who saw the future in Wu-Tang !!! I don't think that Lyor Cohen ever
brought a thick chain with a huge medallion with the name of a label !

So, as always, we (black peoples) are the ones to blame on the first place!


Excuse my broken english and hope to read interesting comments !

1

Posted by: Seend at August 24, 2006 08:13 AM


This is an excellent topic. I can relate. Most people that you are trying to help haven't seen the things that you've seen or have dealt with the people in the arenas that you deal in so they don't understand the methods to your madness nor would they understand if you told them. That's when all the nonsense occurs. They can't fathom that this is a business. They're so focused on the end result that they don't understand that things take time and relationships have to mature before you can really be effective with them in business. You basically summed it up with two things you said prior to this post. You have to crawl, walk and then run. Also persistence always overcomes resistence. Always. Similar to you I started off rapping as an independent artist... John Mickens. Now as a young producer and real estate agent I've been around soaking knowledge up from everywhere making my rounds. I'm coming up slow, but slow is a lot better than no. I just finished a New York $*** remix for Busta. He hasn't heard it. I could get it to you. I heard that Hot 97 interview last night also. Incredible. Pap bodied it. You and Pap definitely put the spark in me to go harder with my grind. See you on the field.

-Love

Posted by: Love at August 24, 2006 10:27 AM

What up Chris



I can relate to the topic to some degree. I understand about the grind. You have people who really want this, but don't have the resources.
This is one of the shadiest businesses I have seen, but so many people try to get into it. Not all have the same motives. Most of the folks want the glamour that they see these rappers with in the videos. They just do it for the perks.



But what really gets me is these are the cats that's getting signed and pushed by these labels. Most of these cats could give a you know what about this music shit. Then on the other end, you got the artist that really love this music shit that can't get the time of day from these labels. I'm not just talking garbage talent, real artist that actually got talent. So, when you mention piggyback, to some degree I feel you, but I still disagree. Everybody does not have the same resources.



Let's be honest here, you guys on the same tip as these labels. I don't see violator reppin for the grinding artist. All the artist you rep for are signed or roll (piggybackin) with a cat that's major, no underdogs.



So, I'm gonna flip everything you stressing and run it back to you. No, disrespect intended, but once I bust my ass and build a name for myself, sell 25,000 copies independently, start gettin alot of label attention, then guess who comes knockin on my door or who would finally be so eager to represent me, YOU GUYS!



So, do you get what I'm saying. It's a two way street. So, my whole point is, stop knocking folks for trying. Just because people not on a level that you on or that you can relate to now, don't mean that they wont get there. Give people a chance when they trying to come up, they will have more respect for you then.



That's just real talk. No disrepect.




Nakeyia Rimmer, C.E.O


Fresh 2 Death Muzik, LLC


"It's a style, It's a culture, It's a way of life"


Posted by: Nakeyia Rimmer at August 25, 2006 04:18 AM

http://www.joydenalane.com/

CHRIS PLEASE CHECK OUT THAT WEBSITE WHEN YOU HAVE A MINUTE.

YOU KNOW THAT I AM GERMAN AND SHE IS THE BOMB OVER HERE AND HER NEW ALBUM IS IN ENGLISH.

TAKE A LOOK AND CHECK OUT THAT DIAMOND

Posted by: Danny at August 25, 2006 05:25 AM

I know I said I wasn't gonna come back here, but I must admit that I always find it amusing to see what kinda bullshit you post.

The music business isn't for everyone huh? so you are tired of people looking to you to open a door for them huh?

You lucky you even get a pass to come see your people in the hood with the moves you and these industry cats be faking. Every time I see you at the seminars you talking about how you are doing it and making big moves, then you wanna come here and post in the blogs and whine about everything that is wrong with the industry.

Negro please.

The only people that I feel sorry for is anyone who feels as though you are about helping anyone but your damned self. But hey, thass how this game works right?

Here's an idea, how about you write a blog about something you truly know about. You can title it, "Exploiting The Hip Hop Culture For Your Own Personal Gain" I'm sure you could write a bit on that topic.

I'll be checking back from time to time to see how it goes

Posted by: Priest at August 25, 2006 08:45 PM

Oh, so now my comments gotta get approved? Ha Ha Ha Ha! True story, you need to stop fronting doggie. If you gonna censor the posts then whass tha point in having a comment section. If you can't take the feedback don't post tha blog.

thass some real coward shit right there.

Posted by: Priest at August 25, 2006 08:48 PM

Oh, so now my comments gotta get approved? Ha Ha Ha Ha! True story, you need to stop fronting doggie. If you gonna censor the posts then whass tha point in having a comment section. If you can't take the feedback don't post tha blog. It aint about being "malicious" if its the truth...

thass some real coward shit right there.

Posted by: Priest at August 25, 2006 08:49 PM

WWW.PERRYMYSTIQUE.COM

Chris Lighty, You are getting ofcourse alot of emails and comments and requests,

BUT, if you check out the site (see above and below):

WWW.PERRYMYSTIQUE.COM

you'll hear the most talented hiphop artist, producer, singer and writer of Europe. And that's really the truth.
Check your email, I've sent you one.

Thanks,

Stephan (From Amsterdam, Holland)

Posted by: Stephan at August 28, 2006 03:13 PM

NOW THIS IS WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT...CHANGING THE GAME!!!!!!!! I'M BUYING MY WHOLE FAMILY SOME JUST ON G.P....I HOPE THIS GOES DOWN IN HISTORY AS SOMETHING THAT CHANGES PEOPLE'S MENTALITY.
~jg's note

New York Daily News - http://www.nydailynews.com
The $15 Mar-vels
By ERIC SHAFFER and RICH SCHAPIRO
DAILY NEWS WRITERS
Wednesday, August 16th, 2006

Move over, Air Jordans.
Knicks star Stephon Marbury is putting his name behind a pair of $15 basketball shoes that he's hoping will give underprivileged kids the chance to wear sneaks fit for the pros.

The black high tops drew rave reviews yesterday from the critics who matter most - young hoopsters.

"They're comfortable," said Mylique Owens, 13, a seventh-grader from midtown, after he tried on a pair of the sleek kicks at the famed basketball court on W. Fourth St. yesterday.

Owens couldn't believe his ears when told the price of the lightweight sneakers.

"Fifteen? Not 5-0? 1-5?" he asked, incredulously. "This shoe could easily go for $70 to a $100."

The groundbreaking sneaker, the Starbury One, is Marbury's attempt at combating the trend toward astonishingly high-priced basketball shoes.

Air Jordans, the sneakers that revolutionized the industry, now go for as much as $180.

The Starbury Ones are far less expensive than even the second-tier Jordans.

"I paid $130 for these Air Jordans that I bought four months ago," said Lenart Williams, a 20-year-old from Harlem. "To get them for $15 from Marbury, I think these shoes are fly."

The sneakers, which will be sold only at Steve & Barry's sports apparel stores, will go on sale tomorrow.

Produced in China, the shoes are constructed using the same materials as the other top-end basketball sneakers on the market, said Howard Schacter, chief partnership officer for Steve & Barry's.

"[Marbury] had a vision. We had an expertise. And together it became a match made in heaven," Schacter said.

Marbury has vowed to wear the shoes he's hoping will enable disadvantaged kids to feel like stars.

The mercurial guard's benevolent intentions were not lost on the young players assembled at the W. Fourth St. court yesterday.

"I feel him for doing something like this," said Mamadou Harvey, 18, of the lower East Side. "Not everyone can afford $80 or $90 shoes."

Posted by: Jacqueline at August 29, 2006 08:46 AM

Damn!!! Someone who is speaking the truth!! This is a great topic and many people need to read what you wrote and also understand especially from someone like you. I'm a struggling producer who stays grinding. Now, I could've taken the easy route and go to those that's already connected but I know that I'll get brushed off with the runaround even if one of them is within your management company. I choose to try to make a name for myself and also help grow talent even though I am picky. My friends around me all think that I'm their meal ticket!!! I made a mixtape CD with my beats on some classic lyrics and key words is I made and I got friends saying we. We who? I'm busting my ass everytime and getting all the rejection calls and still making calls but I won't stop. What I do is a passion and not just a come up like some of these lames that has this business twisted. When your blog New york hip hop and the new york state of mind comes out, I'll be responding to that too.

Posted by: Giovanni (Gee-O) at August 29, 2006 09:52 AM

FIRST THINK I HAVE TO SAY O YOU AND EVERYBODY ON THIS BLOG IS THAT YOU ARE A REAL NIGGA AND THAT IS RARE IN THIS GRIMY INDUSTRY WE WORK IN... THAT 50 CENT LL COOL J PARTY LAST NIGHT WAS CRAZYY( I WAS TALKING 2 U in THE LOBBY) but yeah what u say its true I deal wit that n0w and I am jus getting my feet wet in this industryy I remeber whn I interned f0r universal records,blackground,ect.. And friendz all tried 2 clown the interning thing well look at me n0w ... the mnusic businesss is f0r people who are willingg 2 acheive...... at all levelss it takes will power and strong determintaion... 2 make it.... in this shit shout out to niggaz like U lighty wbo made it and didn't switch UP........ real recongize real and u looking familiar
IF I MISS SPELLED ANY WPRDS WRONG MY BADD STILL DRUNK LOL

TVT RECORDS
YOUNG HARLEM COUTURE (WINTER 07)
"RESPECT THE JUX" BOoK OUT NOW
Www.myspace.comyoungharlem99

Posted by: MR YOUNG HARLEM at September 1, 2006 11:02 AM

FIRST THINK I HAVE TO SAY O YOU AND EVERYBODY ON THIS BLOG IS THAT YOU ARE A REAL NIGGA AND THAT IS RARE IN THIS GRIMY INDUSTRY WE WORK IN... THAT 50 CENT LL COOL J PARTY LAST NIGHT WAS CRAZYY( I WAS TALKING 2 U in THE LOBBY) but yeah what u say its true I deal wit that n0w and I am jus getting my feet wet in this industryy I remeber whn I interned f0r universal records,blackground,ect.. And friendz all tried 2 clown the interning thing well look at me n0w ... the mnusic businesss is f0r people who are willingg 2 acheive...... at all levelss it takes will power and strong determintaion... 2 make it.... in this shit shout out to niggaz like U lighty wbo made it and didn't switch UP........ real recongize real and u looking familiar
IF I MISS SPELLED ANY WPRDS WRONG MY BADD STILL DRUNK LOL

TVT RECORDS
YOUNG HARLEM COUTURE (WINTER 07)
"RESPECT THE JUX" BOoK OUT NOW
Www.myspace.comyoungharlem99

Posted by: MR YOUNG HARLEM at September 1, 2006 11:02 AM

Chris,
Bring back the photo of you cheesing with Paul Simon. That was Hip-Hop.

Posted by: Billy Sunday at September 2, 2006 12:47 AM

To excel in any Industry (especially this one) newcomers have to understand that who you know is a fraction of the equation. Networking (and name dropping) at times are crucial only after you have created recognition on your own. I have to agree with you Chris in that no one individual's success guarantees you regal treatment merely because you "know" them. Your own credibility show be enough to have you stand alone and be recognized then there would be no reason to feel "some type of way" because you didnt get the treatment you felt was owed to you. No one owes you anything. This is a what have YOU done lately industry. Welcome to the Industry Grind.

Posted by: Mecca Donna at September 6, 2006 02:50 PM

To excel in any Industry (especially this one) newcomers have to understand that who you know is a fraction of the equation. Networking (and name dropping) at times are crucial only after you have created recognition on your own. I have to agree with you Chris in that no one individual's success guarantees you regal treatment merely because you "know" them. Your own credibility show be enough to have you stand alone and be recognized then there would be no reason to feel "some type of way" because you didnt get the treatment you felt was owed to you. No one owes you anything. This is a what have YOU done lately industry. Welcome to the Industry Grind.

MECCA DONNA, PUBLICITY
INVISIBLE MAN MNGMT
MECCADONNA@GMAIL.COM
ENTERTAINMENT EDITOR
LASTWORDONLINE.COM,HHNLIVE.COM
MS INTERNATIONAL HUSTLE AND FLOW

Posted by: Mecca Donna at September 6, 2006 02:51 PM

Chris, whats up? I respect all the hard work you put in the music game. Through all the trials and tribulations you remain on top of your game. I cant hate at all. Its too bad there's alot of hater's out there hating. Ive been around you several times and Ive had the chance to sit and talk to you. The most important thing you said to me was, "Yo, dont let anyone tell you who to work with and who not to work with" I took that advice because at the time the person I was working with didnt want me to talk to you or do business with you. Anyways, I did one of the hot joints on the movie soundtrack and you've been looking out for the Haitian brothers (you know who they are) Holla at ya boy; Haitian connection gotcha back. Im a producer and I would like to join the family....where do I send the music? Of course without getting the run around.
PS
Ive paid my dues

Posted by: projectHaiti at September 7, 2006 12:22 PM

Some of you cats are killin me with these posts! Give me ONE GOOD REASON to be upset about the successes that Chris has created for himself. Last time I checked, Chris didnt find the keys to Violator Entertainment under the magic carpet along with the checkbook and rolodex of big business contacts. Its something that he poured his life into and built from the ground up along with good teammates.
Lemme help you out bruh and save you alot of time and effort in manifesting your own destiny; sell yourself with the same passion that you use to write these hateful messages. If you sold yourself with that same conviction, Im sureyou would already be there.
NO PRODUCT, NO PLAN = NO PROSPERITY

Posted by: Barry at September 11, 2006 08:43 PM

Now thats funny.

Posted by: Flavor Flave at September 14, 2006 08:21 AM

What good is all the success if you cant spread the wealth, niggas really need to think about building there treasure in heaven by doing good deeds, and stop all the evil shit, because this life on earth is short, even more so if your dealing with this dirty ass infested hip hop industry. who shits on there family thats almost unhuman.

Posted by: What at September 14, 2006 08:33 AM

Noones success/failure should be the responsibility of an outside individual. That being said I do believe in the spirit of "paying it forward" - helping someone to acheive a dream/goal is a wonderful thing to do. No, of course you can't help everyone but you know when someone's serious about some shit. You recognize that hungry/grinding spirit a mile away. Nobody's saying offer the said person a million dollar salary but damn, don't give'em a lecture about "pulling themselves up by the boot straps" either when you know damn well that'll only get you so far. Offer them an intern. Tell'em they'll have to work for free for a while to get in with you. Tell them something other than "get you're own" before laughing at their inexperience of the way the game is played. It takes a number of factors to be in place for shit to really pop no matter how hard you grinding.

And to whomever said "who you know is a fraction of the equation" was perfectly right only they didn't state what fraction. In every industry from music to politics this addage holds true and who you know counts for a helluva lot. Don't kid yourself...

Posted by: Mahogany at September 15, 2006 03:35 PM

Help Me, Help You!
Believe it or not, Chris has people to answer to. He’s not “just” looking for “the gleam” in someone’s eye, because that doesn’t sell records or capture endorsements. He’s looking for a person that allows him to “Help Me, Help You”! Someone that has created a buzz for themselves and knows what it takes to make a product successful. I’ve run into many people that had pipes as good as Luther Vandross, but 6 months down the road, they discovered that they couldn’t handle the “shit that came with it” and decided that this “wasn’t for them”. Having done that before, I’m not going to put my name / money behind any individual that hasn’t done anything for themselves. You can do it yourself, but you MUST have a PLAN OF ATTACK!

Action Item: Over the next 6 months,
1. Record a demo or mixtape
2. Go out and sell your first 100 demos, then 500.
3. Frequently sign up for improve/open mic shows at local bars or clubs.

Don’t always look at the million dollar prize. Take yourself seriously…because that day you ROCK THE HOUSE, that A&R exec might be in the spot and take you where you wanna go. But it started with you! In the meantime, continue doing what you love; who cares how much you get paid for it! But if your shit is wack…?

Posted by: Barry at September 15, 2006 06:35 PM

Help Me, Help You!
Believe it or not, Chris has people to answer to. He's not "just" looking for "the gleam" in someone's eye, because that doesn't sell records or capture endorsements. He's looking for a person that allows him to "Help Me, Help You"! Someone that has created a buzz for themselves and knows what it takes to make a product successful. I've run into many people that had pipes as good as Luther Vandross, but 6 months down the road, they discovered that they couldn't handle the "shit that came with it" and decided that this "wasn't for them". Having done that before, I'm not going to put my name / money behind any individual that hasn't done anything for themselves. You can do it yourself, but you MUST have a PLAN OF ATTACK!

Action Item: Over the next 6 months,
1. Record a demo or mixtape
2. Go out and sell your first 100 demos, then 500.
3. Frequently sign up for improve/open mic shows at local bars or clubs

Don't always look at the million dollar prize. Take yourself seriously?because that day you ROCK THE HOUSE, that A&R exec might be in the spot and take you where you wanna go. But it started with you! In the meantime, continue doing what you love; who cares how much you get paid for it! But if your shit is wack...???

Posted by: Barry at September 15, 2006 06:40 PM

Hey Chris?

Wow! How we have grown, Life is good! Whether you buy and sell groceries, animals, cars, homes or Entertainers...there is still a tax on each item/mind/body or otherwi$e.

As a black male, constitutionally described as a fifth of a man...we got a lot of rebuilding/healing as well as building/enforcing to do...& with BUSH, we better pay attention to daylight savings...don't let the hands of time go back!

Whatever happened to that mirror, Micheal Jackson sung about?

That pay forward is real talk, any form of giving from the heart is real TALK! Its knowing who is genuinely needing thats always the Catch! Family or strangers!

No Matter, LOVE is always the ANSWER! like you said, find your lane. Its certainly there!

Posted by: JdaB at October 7, 2006 05:31 PM

Darrell.....You are so right....You started from scratch, I remember those days.....Just like you worked HARD to get where you are today, the next person has to do the same....no FREEBIES, no matter who you are....Work For Yours and you as well as others will appreciate your efforts.

Posted by: Myra at October 9, 2006 02:15 PM

I know the industry is my calling...I am like the A&R of my peers..This is all I wanted to since I saw Krush Groove...I know you have people always coming at you.I am just asking to get the honor and chance to show my raw talents.I met and became close with Donna Moore.She was going to introduce me to you, but the she died.You are someone that I look up to because you are in the mix and from the Bronx!..I want to assist you doing A&R and learning the business.The business is calling me.I just need a person in the party to invite me in!

Posted by: Aaron Nickey at October 16, 2006 06:11 PM

Chris- Great to see you tell it how it is. I've followed this business for many many many.. My first dealing with Starlite Records- Bad Boys "Inspector Gadget" era forward. It's refreshing to hear someone at your level actually say this...

I do however feel (based on my observation) that the music industry lacks mentoring found in other industries. Nepotism and homeboyism seem to be the order of the day which in itself contradicts your comments. But then again, look at the Kennedy's, Bush's, etc... nepotism rules, so I can't be ALL mad about it.

With that said, I wonder how many wondeful, inspiring, successful executives have never been able to get in while others get in thru family, friends, etc.. without the benefit of an education or any experience.

In closing, i must say that i've encounterd many rap business executives who's basic business skills outright suck ass. Violator being the exception of course :) ... the ones that suck just give this section of the industry a horrible reputation. My desire for comfort and stability pressed me forward in the Real Estate business where I find most of this countries wealthiest families fortunes lay. While my heart belongs to the music industry and issues like file sharing, publishing, etc.. actually excite me (sad, i know), I decided that it is not the basis of my happiness.

I got an idea Chris: I'll bring a bad of money and we can go buy a shitload of publishing rights and focus on the music of the Baby Boomers. They are the group with the most disposable income that have loyalty and don't download nearly as much as the generation X or Y.


Posted by: JoeyMercy at October 18, 2006 06:22 PM

Yeah I know what you mean. I have family trying to hit me up to get in the magazine all the time. You have to look out for your family but you can't put anyone on if they don't have the talent.

Posted by: Antoine king at October 29, 2006 01:38 PM

I feel you to a certain extinct...in which you have a lot of folks wanting to get an opportunity to work in the business b/c they see how you do it. They may view your success as a way they can excel in life...and not everyone is made for the business. But on the other hand, you have young cats like myself who aspire to become a music executive and really believe in the power of NETWORKING. I attend music conferences and various events on a regular basis. I speak to and shake hands with a lot of industry folks in hopes of a door opening. If you can honestly say NOBODY helped you...and you did it yourself, you would be out of your mind. Somewhere along the way someone helped you...

Posted by: Shaun at November 13, 2006 01:10 PM

Chris,

Thanks for your article.. I actually have been struggling with that question for awhile now. I am currently working in the music industry at one of the biggest record label. Don't get me wrong I love my job and I love the opportunity that I have had in the industry. I've been doing this for 5 years now but I struggle with what I truly want to do. I wonder I am suppose to be doing this. All I know is that at the end of the day I just want to enjoy what I do.

Posted by: NIKO at November 15, 2006 01:01 PM

I think finding your own lane is where people get sidetracked. Even though this thing of ours can be filled with glamor it also is hard work and alot of disappointment, My advice is, if urban entertainment is not your passion meaning you would do it even if you don't get paid. DO NOT DO IT! New Black TV in Feb. for now www.urbanimages-online.com/promo_room

Posted by: Markeith E. Johnson at December 17, 2006 03:47 PM